The Jakarta Post
Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi inaugurated the southern Java double track railway network on Thursday for partial service. The network seeks to boost connectivity between Cirebon, West Java, and Surabaya, East Java.
Some 550 kilometers of the railway network, connecting Cirebon and Jombang, East Java, are ready to use. The ministry aims to finish building the remaining part of the track, about 65 km connecting Jombang and Wonokromo, East Java, in the next two years, according to the minister.
“With the completion of the southern Java double track railway, we will connect three big city agglomerations, namely Greater Jakarta, Joglosemar [Yogyakarta, Surakarta and Semerang] and Gerbangkertosusila [the Surabaya Metropolitan area],” Minister Budi said in a statement during the soft launch of the segment of rail.
He added that the double track rail network, whose construction began in 2015, would boost people’s mobility and the distribution of goods on the island. It is also expected bring more tourists to Borobudur Temple in Central Java, which is one of the government’s “super-priority” tourist destinations.
“It’s crucial for Borobudur to be connected with the railway system. Therefore, I’ve pushed for the Borobudur rail track project to be completed on time and be integrated with the Southern Java rail track project,” he said.
The minister added that the Southern Java double track project was funded through Sharia sovereign bonds (SBSN) on multiyear contracts, amid the shortage in the state budget for infrastructure development.
The National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) has estimated that the country will need $429.7 billion in infrastructure investment, equal to 6.1 percent of its annual GDP, between 2020 and 2024. However, the government may only be able to finance 30 percent of the spending with the state budget.
House of Representatives Commission V agreed in September to provide the ministry a Rp 45.6 trillion (US$3.1 billion) budget for 2021, a Rp 4.31 trillion increase from this year’s budget. Of the total budget, infrastructure development has received the largest allocation, at Rp 33.95 trillion, according to a ministry statement.